WSOP Players to Watch: The Five Percenters

By all accounts women make up roughly 5 percent of the field in a World Series of Poker event most poker industry observers believe that increasing that number is key to growing the poker market over the next 5-10 years. While only 1 in every 20 players at the WSOP is a woman, a number of talented women have emerged to make a real name for themselves. While Vanessa Selbst will return to the WSOP this summer to continue to add to her three WSOP bracelets – the most by any woman – the BLUFF 2015 WSOP Countdown features a look at some who could be on the verge of a big summer of their own.

Melissa Burr

Melissa-Burrwsop-previewCareer Earnings: $333,645
WSOP Earnings: $282,373
WSOP Cashes: 6
WSOP Bracelets: 0

Sure, Brandon Shack-Harris was probably the biggest breakout star of the 2014 WSOP but that shouldn’t overshadow the amazing Series that Melissa Burr had. Burr cashed fives times at the 2014 WSOP, including an impressive three final tables and no finish worse than 13th place. Included in her three final tables was a seventh place finish in the $50,000 Players Championship. Prior to 2014 she had only cashed in one WSOP event.

Burr, who splits her time between New Jersey and Mexico so she can play online cash games, is a mixed game specialist as evidenced by the fact that all of her 2014 cashes came in games other than Hold’em. With the varying levels of buy-ins available for all the games on the schedule, Burr could again be putting up great results and might find herself breaking the goose egg in her bracelet total.

Loni Harwood

Loni-Harwood-wsop-previewCareer Earnings: $1,254,757
WSOP Earnings: $907,538
WSOP Cashes: 10
WSOP Bracelets: 1

Two years ago Loni Harwood was a contender for the WSOP Player of the Year after cashing six times, including three final tables and her first WSOP bracelet. Things were going well for her at the 2014, with four cashes, when Harwood’s mother suddenly passed away and Harwood left the WSOP to be with her family.

She’s since returned to the tour and has posted four cashes in 2015, including three five-figure scores, for almost $110,000 in earnings. Along the way she’s kept her mom in her thoughts, using the hashtag #ForMom on social media during every tournament she’s played. Harwood’s success since bursting on the scene in 2013 proves she’s no fluke and she’ll be looking to use the 2015 WSOP to just add to her career totals.

Maria Ho

Maria-Ho-wsop-previewCareer Earnings: $1,665,868
WSOP Earnings: $1,154,002
WSOP Cashes: 30
WSOP Bracelets: 0

Twice in her career Maria Ho has managed to earn the bittersweet title of “Last Woman Standing” in the WSOP Main Event. Bittersweet because neither time was she the last player standing. Still, those two cashes (2007 and 2014) don’t at all define her WSOP career.

She’s posted 30 cashes over the last 10 years, coming as close to a bracelet win as you possibly can, finishing runner-up to Allen Bari in 2011 in the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event. Ho has also proven that she’s capable of playing the multitude of games offered on the WSOP schedule by cashing in 8 non-Hold’em games over the past three years.

Jamie Kerstetter

Jamie-Kersetter-wsop-previewCareer Earnings: $444,061
WSOP Earnings: $102,532
WSOP Cashes: 12
WSOP Bracelets: 0

Only once in the last six years has Jamie Kerstetter failed to record at least a single WSOP cash. Last summer she cashed three times, all in smaller buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournaments. In fact, all but one of her 12 WSOP cashes were in events with buy-ins of $1,500 or less. The one cash that wasn’t was a deep Main Event run, finishing 590th in 2011 for just over $20,000.

Kerstter’s spent most of her time over the last two years living in New Jersey where she plays as a partypoker Team Pro. She’s still been able to continue to grind live tournaments though, posting regular scores on the East Coast, most notably at the Borgata in Atlantic City, while also making regular appearances on the Run Good Poker Series where she’s posted a couple of small cashes. With a decent amount of volume over the past year, Kerstetter will be right at home in the big field, low buy-in events that make up a good chunk of the WSOP schedule.

Leo Margets

leo-margets-wsop-previewCareer Earnings: $633,187
WSOP Earnings: $373,511
WSOP Cashes: 6
WSOP Bracelets: 0

Like Maria Ho, Leo Margets first made a WSOP splash by being the last remaining female in the WSOP Main Event. That was 2009 when Margets finished 27th to win $352,832. Since then she’s gone on to cash 30 more times with most of them coming on the other side of the Atlantic. Still, the Team PokerStars Pro has had success in the Las Vegas summer heat, cashing 13 times in events around the WSOP.

On the downside, Margets has only cashed three times since November 2013 with none coming at the WSOP. Every single one of her cashes came in a No Limit Hold’em tournament so, like Kerstetter, the Spaniard could be in line for a decent couple of scores thanks to the 33 NLHE events on the WSOP schedule.

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Lance Bradley

Editor in Chief at BLUFF.com
Editor in Chief: Lance Bradley began working with BLUFF in March 2008 and was named Editor in Chief in August 2009. Prior to joining BLUFF Bradley launched an independent poker blog, ThePokerBiz.com in 2006. Before entering the world of poker media he was the Poker Room Manager for Bodog from January 2004 until June 2006. He graduated from the Applied Journalism program Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, Canada.
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